Iran has an anti-ship missile with a 190-mile range that could be used to close the Strait of Hormuz and threaten shipping traffic in the Persian Gulf, according to statements by Brig. Gen. Hossein Alayee, a former Iranian deputy defense minister, reported Alalam News in Iran.

Iran can defend itself against foreign attacks, he said.

His comments came amid speculation that time is running out for the United States or Israel to launch strikes against Iranian nuclear materials production sites.

U.S. and other Western officials suspect Iran may use the materials to produce nuclear weapons, even though Iran claims the materials are intended to fuel a nuclear electrical generating plant.

Iran also has fired missiles in salvos, fired a missile from a submerged submarine and said it is developing a space program, which involves much the same technology as an intercontinental ballistic missile.

In the test of the new anti-ship missile, Alalam quoted Alayee as telling Arabic TV that "these missiles can destroy any targets in the Persian Gulf and even in the Sea of Oman."

Brig. Gen. Mohammed Al Jafari, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, also was quoted as saying that the new missile could destroy any ship within a 190-mile range.

Their comments also came after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flatly rejected United Nations and Western demands that Iran abandon its nuclear program, blowing off a deadline for a statement of compliance.

Ahmadinejad also has said Israel should be wiped from the map, and has said Israel soon shall cease to exist.

While he also has said Iran is willing to negotiate on the nuclear issue, he also said before any talks begin that Iran never will agree to cease its nuclear materials production program. Some European officials are growing impatient with the Iranian stance, saying Iran is only stalling for time while it continues to amass more nuclear materials that could be used to construct weapons.

Iran has said it has 5,000 centrifuges in its nuclear weapons program.